In many business circles, radio advertising is considered among the most cost effective ways to get the word out about your local company. Radio reaches large numbers of people at work and in their cars while the simplicity of recording the messages requires you to lay out considerably less money for the process than you would for a print ad or a television commercial. But is it the most cost effective method you could utilize? And what other costs are being overlooked? We will look at these questions here.


The rates to buy a 30 second advertising spot on a Canadian radio station vary widely. Why? Because the time of day, type of radio station, catchment area, and number of listeners all have an effect on what price a station is able to charge businesses for their air time. These are all factors you will have to consider when you're choosing a station, as a higher priced time slot will actually provide a greater return on your investment than a cheaper time slot that reaches the wrong audience.

Cost Effectiveness

The cost effectiveness of your radio advertising depends on how well you choose your station, time, and message. It's a hit or miss form of advertising, like TV, so you stand a chance of achieving close to zero effectiveness if you choose wrong. Though radio ad space is cheaper to purchase than television ad space, there are other cheaper methods you could use that can have similar levels of effectiveness. Print ads in local newspapers and internet advertising just might be a better choice for your promotions.

Target Audiences

Keep in mind who you're trying to reach with your advertisement. Radio listeners tend to be an older demographic these days as compared to the trends in the 80's and 90's. A dentist, to select a specific example, tends to appeal to an older demographic who has need for dental work and doesn't have the internet, and radio can reach this demographic successfully, could use this medium to promote their services. Younger people, however, tend to gravitate toward the internet and personal music players for listening to music and as a result will be less likely to hear a radio ad directed at them, rendering your purchase of airtime less effective if the younger crowd is your target.

Other Costs

Many businesses and even some proponents of publicly funded broadcasting point to a lack of funding as a reason to allow commercial advertising onto public airwaves. While this would be good for you if you're trying to advertise, consider how the detrimental effect it would have on the station's reputation and airtime for actual programs if it were to change its policy for you.

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